St. Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church of Hamilton
One of the Seven Major Feasts of the Lord is the descending of the Holy Spirit on the disciples, known as Pentecost Day (Fiftieth day). On this day, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples as tongues of fire, through which they were able to speak in different tongues and preach the news entrusted to them by our Lord Jesus Christ. This gift is the promise of the Father to the human race. After the Son reconciled the Father with the human race by giving Himself up as a sacrifice on the Holy Cross, and after giving our human body the capability of living with God through His Ascension, God the Father poured on us the grace and blessings of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to live by the Spirit with God while we're still on earth. The feast is called "the Feast of Pentecost (Arabic: Ansara)," a Hebrew word that means, "feast." Originally this day was a Jewish feast, which was one of their three major feasts: the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year (cf. Ex. 34:22). On this day, the Jews thanked God for the ingathering, and they came from various countries around the world to Jerusalem for this feast (cf. Acts 2:5).

We celebrate two great feasts on Thursday. The first great feast of the Lord is Great Thursday of the Holy Pascha, on which the Lord gave us the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The second is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven, after He spent forty days with His disciples. This Thursday is also a Feast of the Lord called the Feast of Ascension.

By the Ascension of the Lord, we mean His bodily Ascension.

Because in His divinity, He is everywhere, He does not ascend nor descend. Therefore, in the Liturgy of St. Gregory we say "And You ascended into the heavens in the body…" This ascension is evidence that His Glorified Body is not subject to the earth’s gravitational laws. It is also evidence of His Divinity. He ascended before His disciples as they were looking. This scene strengthened their faith because the Lord not only resurrected using His Divine power, but He also ascended into heaven in front of them.

Saint Mark is considered to be the founder of the Coptic Orthodox Church. He is one of the Seventy Apostles appointed by our Lord (Mark 10:10), and one of the four Evangelists. He is regarded as the first of the unbroken chain of 117 patriarchs of the Coptic Church, and the first of a stream of Egyptian martyrs.

St. Mark was of Jewish descent, belonging to the tribe of Levi. He was born in Pentapolis (translated, the Five Western Cities) on the Northern coast of Africa, west of Egypt. His family lived in Cyrenica until they were attacked by barbarians at which time they moved to Jerusalem with their son, John Mark, John being Hebrew and Mark Roman. Evidently, he received a good education and, Hebrew being his native language, became fluent in both Greek and Latin. It is believed that St. Mark’s cousin was St. Barnabas, and his father’s cousin was St. Peter.

While St. Mark was traveling in Jordan with his atheist father, Arostalis, a lion and lioness appeared. His father begged St. Mark to escape at the cost of his own life, but St. Mark assured his father that Jesus Christ would save them both and began to pray. Suddenly, the two animals fell dead. As a result of that miracle, the father believed in Christ. For this reason, St. Mark is often portrayed with a lion.